Total Immersion Forums  

Go Back   Total Immersion Forums > Links and References
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-12-2009
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation
Default NLP & TI: Did you learn TI via Formal or Informal Means?

This is a question that holds particular interest for me at the moment, perhaps because it's closely related to understanding how the brain processes information. Today I received a private message from a forum poster, about similarities he had noted between TI methodology and that of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Several others had previously mentioned those similarities to me, but I had not yet read more on NLP. Now I believe I'll look for a book that can inform me better. Suggestions welcome. Here's an excerpt from the message:

How we learn... The NLP book talks about the traditional way we learn, a little bit at a time, building to the point where we can do the whole task. And then it just touches on a different way, called "accelerated learning" where you model someone's behavior and just do it, later tweaking it, taking out whatever doesn't work. I think this is what that guy did who wrote in to the forum, asking if it could be true that he got so much better "just by watching Terry". He didn't like drills, just jumped into full-stroke by modelling you. It was significant that he mentioned seeing you in the lake in his head, and hearing the music that was playing in the dvd, because NLP talks about the 3 main ways we perceive and organize information: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic... when you can include all three the impact is more powerful and memorable.

This struck a chord because last week in the Bay area I met with TI fan Chris Sacca, a leading member of the digerati. Chris had taught himself a beautiful, efficient stroke, progressing from being exhausted after a lap or two to swimming an easy mile in a matter of weeks. This was so he could do an IM tri - he did two, with a very respectable swim leg of 1:07.

When we swam together (with Shinji in Fremont) I could find only a couple of minor tweaks to mention -- slight crossover and scooping up in front. The more important point is he had drawn enormous enjoyment and satisfaction from his practice and considered the experience life-transforming.

He had never done a single drill. He learned TI by watching the whole stroke segments of the Easy Freestyle DVD and emulating what he saw, combined with several focal points.

I also have a good friend in New Paltz, who "hates doing drills" but loves TI and his now-fluent freestyle stroke. He also favors refining his stroke via stroke thoughts. I expect there are hundreds, if not thousands, who have learned similarly.

In coming months I intend to give considerable "formal" attention with our coaches in coming months to the importance of being equally facile at using the drills in situations and with students for whom that is most appropriate, and teaching via "stroke thoughts and tweaks" at other times. One caveat is that the "informal" process should probably be nearly as choreographed as the drill process.

The question here is what has your experience been. Who favors or has had good success with accelerated learning and who with faithfully following the drills. What insights have you gotten into learning one way vs. the other.

I understand that, in most cases, it's not an either/or situation. Even if you prefer learning via drills, there still comes a point where you shift to mostly whole-stroke practice.
__________________
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-12-2009
naj naj is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 624
naj
Default

I have never been one that can understand things from a book or video. It's not that I feel I'm slow (intelligence wise), but rather I need to have someone show me in person and correct things immediately and show me things that I can work on in the future.For myself, I need immediate communication and correction on things. Although, having the "Easy Free" DVD as a reference point is very critical. Great topic Terry!

Naji
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-12-2009
FrankJ FrankJ is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: london
Posts: 56
FrankJ
Default Re:

A bit of both, at different stages. When I started with each stroke type, drills they most certainly were essential for deconstructing my old stroke, and constrcting a new one. Now, when I swim freestyle, I mostly do whole stroke, but slow, taking a short break (5-10 seconds o so) every 1-4 laps, and rotating between focal points. After each lap or two, I think of how the stroke went, how tweaking different aspects of it affected my SPL and general smoothness. So it is still very much an ongoing analysis, which I enjoy and motivates me.

When it comes to backstroke, I still drill, and I think without drills it would be very hard to correct some things. For instance, when lifting my left arm during recovery, I rotate the hand way too soon, so that my thumb points downwards. This introduces tension in my shoulders. Unless I drill, I find it hard to avoid doing that mistake. But I expect that soon, once I imprint that basic movement, I will be able to swim whole stroke and concentrate on my hand rotation as a focal point.

Breastroke: just started learning it, and there are way too many things to pay attention to, so that I would not be able now to swim it corectly using focal points during whole stroke. I anticipate a few months of drilling, and then whole stroke with focal points.

So in summary, I’m not in love with drills once I feel I learnt a basic movement, but I find them essential at the beginning. After that, I enjoy concentrated attention to focal points while slowly swimming whole stroke (incidentally, this latter phase reminds me of how Taiji is learned, which I practiced years ago).

F.

p.s nice thread! I'm curious to see what experiences other have had as well
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-12-2009
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 402
Rhoda
Default

I think I got more, at least at first, from the drills. I still use them to capture a feeling before trying to reproduce it in whole stroke. I started with just drills from the original book and improved quite a bit from that before hitting a plateau. Then I learned a lot more from taking a class and having someone to give me feedback.
In a similar way, I got butterfly (pre-T.I.) from reading descriptions of the stroke, mentally rehearsing it in my head while taking the train home from work, and finally trying it in slow motion in the pool. I haven't found anyone to give me feedback on that yet.
Maybe this all ties in the ADHD discussion on the brain cell thread. Perhaps those of us who might have ADD/ADHD do better with the drills while those who don't can learn from watching whole stroke swimming.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-13-2009
ames ames is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 72
ames
Default

I thought you would find this topic worth exploration, Terry. The intro book I recommended is Introducing NLP by Joseph O'Connor and John Seymour. The subject is pretty vast but they sum it up best by saying "NLP is the study of excellence." There is a good link to John Grinder explaining modelling and accelerated learning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYU7dkG6DtA
In it he talks about learning by imitating a "genius" or expert in a particular field and how to really do it well you have to turn off your filters and be childlike. Your filters are your beliefs and assumptions, and they color your perceptions, often in a limiting way, and likewise affect your behavior. Like if you believe that to swim well you have to work harder, then your body will tense up, you will put yourself through a lot of pain, and probably won't enjoy swimming that much. But if you model Terry, adopting his beliefs: every stroke is a joy, be relaxed, be fishlike, you will have a much different outcome.

There are a few books that apply NLP directly to sports, which may be easier to understand than the abstractions in the intro book. I love Volleyball Cybernetics by Stan Kellner and Dave Cross. There are also books on golf and tennis, though I haven't read them, as they are not my thing.

To answer Terry's question, I started out doing drills mostly but jumped around a lot. I am totally committed to the TI way but tend to be rather unfocused, if that makes any sense. I jump around from drill to drill to whole stroke and even throw some breaststroke in and change focal points a lot. Now I do mostly whole stroke. I am 2.5 months into it and am at the point where I am trying to integrate rhythmic breathing via swim and nod. It is coming along. I do feel I get a little better every time I swim. The drills to me now are an indication of how far I've come... before this summer I couldn't swim at all and now that I can at least do the drills, if not "swim" just yet, well that is quite satisfying. (Another question... is it easier for total beginners to learn TI, because of fewer assumptions??) Like many others have remarked, Superman Flutter is a great drill for regaining that sense of balance and I do go back to that one frequently. I love the feeling of my legs being so light, I don't even really kick, just flip my feet. I try to feel that way doing whole stroke.

Yesterday I felt kind of tense and breathless in the pool for about half an hour. Then I started modelling the woman in the lane next to me, who was doing a TI-style, smooth, easy stroke. Instant success!

I have watched Terry and Shinji on video too many times to count. I have those images playing in my head when I am swimming and that has been so valuable to me. I'm sure some in-person instruction would allow me to learn much faster, but for now I am very happy with my progress thus far. And thanks again to everyone on this forum, I have taken some real gems from it.

Amy
but you can call me ames
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-13-2009
Manofword Manofword is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 28
Manofword
Default

For me, I got the book first then the DVD. I am a reading/visual learner. I can understand by reading, but I really learn well by watching. I have watched Terry and Shinji "scads" of times! I think, for me, I can do some mental imprinting visually. I have never really learned to swim other than the "thrash and splash" method. It worked for play, but not fore real swimming. Since committing to a full Ironman, I knew I had to get the form down or my hopes were history. At first I was going to get lessons at the "Y" but then someone on IAMTRI recommended TI. Since then, I have been on my own armed my video cam and my underwater cam etc. Two things I am really having trouble with are: 1. Balance-my legs sink terribly w/o using a pull buoy. I still do Supermans before every training session. 2. My breathing-which I know I'll get in time. I think my biggest tool is watching the "perfect" form of Terry and Shinji. I watch and then try to execute. It really helps me, I think, more than the drills, which I do sparingly.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-13-2009
ewa.swimmer ewa.swimmer is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Ewa Beach or Kona Hawaii
Posts: 147
ewa.swimmer
Default

I am an elementary school teacher and the discussion sounds a lot like the reading debate that has gone on for many years. Phonics vs. sight words. I learned reading with Dick and Jane (sight words) many of you learned via phonics. Some children naturally go towards the little parts making up the whole (phonics/drill) others like myself prefer to have the whole picture first.

Teaching can never be a black and white, either/or. I like to see the whole stroke, try it for myself to see where I need to improve, then use the drills to fix it. Others, I'm sure are just the opposite. I would hate to have someone lose out on the chance to have swimming become a wonderful part of their life because of a teaching style/learning style mismatch.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-13-2009
daveblt daveblt is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 820
daveblt
Default

14 years ago when I first started TI most of my swim time was the drills from the original book and little swimming .I figured that in order to change muscle memory I might as well start off right and from the beginning in order to change my stroke. Within a few months 90% of my time in the pool was swimming . Currently 90-95 % of my swim is whole stroke . I don't feel the need now to drill that much but I usually finish up my swim with sweet spot balance or spear switch ect. and of course LA combo.


Dave
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-13-2009
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rio, Wisconsin
Posts: 564
westyswoods
Default

Extremely interesting topic. I like Naj have difficulty learning from structured type of materials. Let me do it with instant feedback so I can tweek and feel the difference works the best. I have been studying TI for two years now with much progress but the neuro programing has been very slow, actually reprograming is more appropriate. I am presently in contact with TI and putting a virtual coaching video together with plans of attempting to upload it today. I say attempting due to my skills at following written and visual cues for high tech are not good. Again sit here and show me, let me walk through it and things seem to happen.
For myself time has come to make a move forward with TI and it will necessitate hands on, one to one, instant feedback. Consequently I am trying to decide which is the best format for doing so. (Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated) Had a very productive conversation with Shane from Lake Placid last week. He explained my options and the advanages of using an Endless Pool for learning and feedback. (One past experience with EP and was not good) One of the difficulties with TI is that those of us who do learn better with that instant feedback environ find it hard to find the appropriate coach nearby. Video taping has been invaluable for improvement.
When sharing knowledge we must understand there is no my way or the highway. The more options in the bag the better we will be.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-13-2009
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation
Default

Here's an email exchange I had this morning with my friend from New Paltz who finds drills boring and thus cannot maintain the motivation to learn or improve that way.

From Steve:
I'm not sure that I'd use the terms "formal" and "informal" since "informal" has a pejorative connotation that has nothing to do with your teaching. Hows about "organic" (with the drilling method being the "discrete" method) and the mix of the two used as appropriate?

Just as you are monitoring your every movement as you swim, so am I (or trying to, at least) but have found, by trial and (mostly) error, that I prefer the whole stroke "mindfulness" towards improvement - paying attention to diff. parts of the stroke as I am swimming. I think one of the links btwn the two of us is the importance of that initial visual of the perfect stroke - here is the objective we are seeking as we move forward. I would add a coaches description of the stroke so that students can see what it is that makes this work: small initial kick to begin sequence, stroke hand piercing water just as recovery hand moves back,...etc.

You are right, though: I'm not sure that I would be swimming as I am w/o some of the drills I have done. They are esp. good for developing the "body awareness" that you champion. For me, personally, the drill would be followed by it's immediate application to whole stroke so that a) I can easily see how it relates and b) I don't get bored (very important when we're talking about an activity that we aren't required to do)

We've traded e-mails about the coaches who have built up a mastery of a sport in their charges by slowly coaching them step-by-step (remember that Russian tennis coach?) I would look at the way I have approached my swimming as coming from the opposite direction: rather than build up the muscle memory piece by piece (not gonna do it!) I'll take the whole enchilada and, with a newfound knowledge of where I am supposed to be (see videos by Terry and Shinji) and some drills under my belt, begin removing the negative portions of my stroke (kick!) and adding the correct ingredients (front-quadrant stroke) -- not unlike renovating an existing structure room-by-room. Is this the best way to build a house? - nope - but it can be done and to great effect.

From Terry:
The connection between the two methods is that both require mindful attention to the details. Opposite to the more common tendency to zone out or disassociate - like listening to an mp3 player as you swim. The key to the organic method is that you combine a facility for visual and cognitive learning (you can translate pictures and ideas into skilled movement) with a good capacity for perception and discernment. Of course, every hour of practicing the organic method will grow new brain cells for all of those qualities.

I particularly like your description for identifying and "subtracting negative elements" in your stroke. For that, as you discovered at Moriello, video is an invaluable aid. You thought you had a compact kick. You expressed shock when video revealed you had a widely splayed kick.

I feel as if there are probably a significant number of potential TI converts who would prefer to learn as you did. If so, we are missing the opportunity to convert them if we allow ourselves to be pigeonholed as just teaching highly formal drills. As a result of this email exchange I now have a clear idea what kind of learning tools we need to develop for the organic learning method. We need to create a comprehensive catalog - video and photo - that contrasts all the most common manifestations of inefficient swimming with examples of highly efficient - like me and/or Shinji. Combine those visuals with the phrases (stroke thoughts) one should concentrate on to make the fix.
__________________
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:11 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.